They’re often regarded as serving no purpose, but a new study suggests that the arms of Tyrannosaurus Rex may have played a key role in its dominance over the animal kingdom.
A scientist claims that T-Rex’s arms were used as vicious weapons, capable of inflicting metre-long gashes in its victims.
Steven Stanley, a palaeontologist working at the University of Hawaii, gave a presentation to The Geological Society of America last week in which he claimed nature equipped the monster with “formidable weaponry”.
The research flies in the face of previous suggestions that the T-Rex was a lover as well as a fighter, which used its little arms to clasp its partner close during sex.
“Its short, strong forelimbs and large claws would have permitted T-Rex, whether mounted on a victim’s back or grasping it with its jaws, to inflict four gashes a metre or more long and several centimetres deep within a few seconds,” said Stanley, according to New Scientist.
“And it could have repeated this multiple times in rapid succession.”
Other scientists have cast doubt on these claims, with Jakob Vinther, a paleobiologist from the University of Bristol, suggesting Stanley’s argument was “illogical”.
The T-Rex’s stubby extremities were just three feet long, meaning it would have needed to get extremely close to its victims if it wanted to rend them limb from limb.
And the arms really were used for lovemaking, the claws would hardly have made the encounter very comfortable.
Previous research suggested the T-Rex was more of a sensitive lover than you might think.
The terrifying meat-eater, which stood 20 feet tall and had jaws bristling with serrated teeth up to nine inches long, was believed to have had a snout as sensitive to touch as human fingertips.
A team of scientists suggested two rexy beasts would rub their noses together during foreplay, before getting down to the monstrous act of physical love.
The British Journal Editors and Wire Services